One of the best gifts you can give your child is learning to code. This is not only an exciting, intellectually challenging pastime, but also a reliable guarantee of a future career. in an industry that not only offers competitive wages but also promises to provide stable and secure employment.

One of the best tools for teaching kids how to code is the Raspberry Pi. At $30, they are cheap enough for most parents. Using the built-in GPIO (General Input/Output), they can connect electrical components and create their own physical computing devices. Since you are unlikely to use the Raspberry Pi as your main computer, your kids will be able to experiment and play without fear of damaging your system or your documents.

But if you’re not a coder and don’t know your Python from your prologue, you might not know where to send your kids. If this sounds like you, don’t worry. Here are five simple exercises that will teach your child how to program with the Raspberry Pi.

stuck in raspberry jam

Raspberry Jams are community-run meetings for people to learn (and teach) about the Raspberry Pi. While many tech events are adults-only, Raspberry Jams are open to enthusiasts of all ages. Every raspberry jam I have ever attended has had many children and teenagers in attendance.

Raspberry jam

The vast majority of Raspberry Pi encounters are in the UK, although there are few in the US, as well as Canada, India, and Ukraine.

What makes these events great is that they are usually directed by adults who have experience using and building the Raspberry Pi. Your children will not be left without guidance. They will receive practical advice and instructions. They learn how to write code and how to use the various Linux operating systems commonly used on the Pi.

Plus, there will inevitably be many other young people there, making this a fun and social event for all ages.

Teach them how to scratch

Many children learn to code from scratch, This MIT project takes the most fundamental concepts of code and turns it into a user-friendly drag-and-drop experience.

Things like conditions (where you complete a task if something meets criteria) and iteration (where you repeat something a certain number of times) turn into bright, colorful puzzle pieces that fall into place gracefully. The results of the code play out in front of you as an animation or elemental game.

to scratch

Your child will never get the job of writing scratch code for a living, but that’s not the point. It’s about taking the code and turning it into something nice and visual, and ultimately making it less intimidating for beginners. There is nothing like it for teaching the fundamental logic of coding.

If you’re looking for a good place to get started with Scratch, take a look at the Raspberry Pi Foundation website, which has posted several Scratch projects for download. They tend to be of an appropriate age and come with clear and concise documentation.

learn python

The next step up from Scratch is Python. It was first developed in 1991 by the Dutch programmer Guido Van Rossum as a simple educational programming language. Unlike other programming languages, Python was designed to be easy to read and easy to write. It has an interpreter (which is what the code actually executes) that came with strict rules that forced people to write nice, clean code The end result was that Python became a huge success not only in education but also in industry.


Right now, every Raspberry Pi ships with Python, so there’s nothing to download.

Thanks in large part to the success of the Raspberry Pi, there are also plenty of Python tutorials for kids and young adults. If you prefer to study books, No Starch Press has Python for Kids: A Playful Introduction to Programming by Jason R. Biggs. One of the strengths of this is that it is written in a simple, accessible style and has enough illustrations to keep kids interested.

I’ve searched YouTube for kid-friendly Python video tutorials, but I haven’t yet found one that I can recommend. Many are either just not that good or just out of place. If you have something you can recommend, please let us know in the comments below.

However, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has released a number of Python projects that offer a disappointing take on the language. In addition, will soon release a guide to the Python programming language written by you for real. In order not to miss it, consider subscribing to our newsletter or subscribing to Facebook or Twitter.

Play with Minecraft Pi

When I was 7, Stretch Armstrong and Action Men dolls were on a rampage. Now, seems like a current childhood obsession — Minecraft, from Swedish developers Mojang (now part of Microsoft).

Minecraft is essentially digital Lego. Instead of building a pretend castle or a spaceship out of plastic bricks, everything is done on a computer screen with virtual bricks. There’s no real limit to what you can build with it. Your creations can be as big or as small as you want. They can be as simple or as ambitious as your imagination allows.


There is a huge online community of people sharing their own inventions scattered across Twitter, Reddit and YouTube. There are even some Minecraft vloggers who have hundreds of thousands of followers, believe it or not. Trust me when I say that Minecraft is very big.

In February 2013, Mojang released a version specially designed for the Raspberry Pi. In addition to being free, it was designed to run on limited Raspberry Pi hardware and had an API (Application Programming Interface) to allow programming in Minecraft using Python.

This has led to Minecraft being used as a medium for learning to code because not only is Minecraft’s irresistible appeal, but you can see your scores play out for you in a familiar virtual world.

Learn electronics with Sense HAT

If you want to teach your kids about electronics and building the internet of things, Sense HAT is a great place to start. This add-on board for the Raspbery Pi sells for around £23 in the UK or $50 in the US and has built-in GPIO slots. It includes an 8×8 RGB LED matrix; five-button joystick; and many sensors, including a gyroscope and an accelerometer. There is even a Python library that provides easy access to all the components included in Sense HAT.


In essence, this is all you need to build a set of basic physical computing projects. As with Scratch and Python, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has published several example projects. They offer an excellent starting point and illustrate the capabilities of the Sense HAT.

When your kids eventually move on to more advanced stuff like the Arduino, you might want to consider 1Sheeld. from the Egyptian startup Integreight. This board allows you to build IoT products using the sensors and radios built into a standard Android smartphone.

Programming is easy with pi

Few things have become easier to learn to code than the Raspberry Pi. Have you found a great way to use them in learning to code? Tell me about it in the comments below!

Photo credits: Blackpool Raspberry Jam (Les Pounder), (nyuhuhuu), SenseHAT (Les Pounder), Kids Workshop (Francois CAUCHE), Minecraft Pi (KniBaron)

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